What do you get when you put an Italian, Chinese and French chef together and let them stew? According to organizers of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards, you get "The Ultimate Melting Pot" and the hosts for this year's gala. You also get a stab at elite gastronomy at its most politically correct.
This year's gala reception, which takes place May 9 in New York and crowns the winners, will be hosted by Italian celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, Chinese chef Ming Tsai, and Traci Des Jardins, an American chef with a French fine dining restaurant. The theme is meant to be a tribute to the USA's "wonderfully diverse food culture, a mosaic of influences from many lands." All the hosts are past recipients of James Beard Awards.
Popular food blog Eater, however, has another theory.
"Perhaps it is a response to Anthony Bourdain saying '...if you go to the James Beard Awards, you've never seen so many white people in one room since the Republican National Convention.'"
Bourdain, the tough-talking, irreverent chef, cookbook author, and host of popular travel show No Reservations, was being quoted from an interview with the Houston Press .
To highlight this year's theme, the guest list includes chefs who have emigrated from various countries to America, as well as chefs born in the US whose cuisine is inspired by the country's multicultural influences.
Known as the culinary equivalent of the Oscars, the James Beard Awards crowns the best chefs in the US.
Another major event for restaurateurs is S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards which will be held just a few weeks before on April 26.